Learn from experiences Emergency Coordinator urges at council meeting

It’s never too early to plan for the next possible disaster scenario

The smoke from a July 2 grass fire may have cleared, even from our memory, but it’s never too early to plan for the next possible disaster scenario unfolding in real time as far as Sybille Sanderson, emergency coordinator with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, told Ladysmith Council.

She had high praises for the way emergency responders handled the grass fire, which threatened residents of Cedar. “I would like to give staff kudos for all the work they did, because they did an amazing job,” she said July 6.

Now let’s learn from that experience, she added.

The Cedar grass fire required Ladysmith, Chemainus, North Oyster and other fire departments to commit crews and equipment. It also triggered activation of the Emergency Social Services Centre in Ladysmith. Everything went according to the scenarios emergency responders have practiced, and the situation was controlled without injuries or serious property damage.

But there’s only room for a brief pause to celebrate that success before getting back to the ongoing business of preparing for the next emergency that will put area residents at risk – the preparations can begin close to home.

“We are encouraging the public to have their Grab ‘n Go Kits ready,” Sanderson said.

There is information available at CVRD.ca about how people can prepare to help themselves and their community during a disaster (go to the ‘Prepare for a Disaster’ link under the ‘How do I…’ menu item, where you can:

• Take the Emergency Preparedness Challenge to find out how prepared you really are

Prepare an Emergency Comfort Kit (Grab ‘n Go) so you are okay wherever you are when disaster strikes

You can download a copy of the Cowichan Valley Emergency Preparedness Workbook, or pick one up from your local library, recreation centre or local government.

As necessary as continued training and preparedness is, members of Ladysmith Council were pleased with how things were handled in the region’s recent trial by fire.

Said Councilor Steve Arnett, “It makes me feel confident as a resident of this town that we have our act together.”